Tobias Zielony, 2022


Wolfen is about a lost dirty icon, and about the distant future. The town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen was home to ORWO-Werke, East Germany’s largest film factory. ORWO’s black-and-white and color films helped define the style of movies and photography throughout the Eastern Bloc. Until the Wall fell. The sprawling plant once employed 15,000 people; now two dozen work here. The rest was liquidated, the factory halls torn down. What is left of the factory manufactures an especially durable archival film designed to preserve analog pictures and digital data in the form of QR codes for over a thousand years. Who, one wonders, will read the information a millennium from now? Extraterrestrials (who speak English)? We see photographs Zielony took on the scene, some on that very long-lasting film. And we read short texts based on Zielony’s conversations with employees who worked in the factory’s darkroom. The plant’s notorious contamination with toxic chemicals, the degrading labor conditions, the dependency on the Soviet Union come up, as do the collapse of the industry and questions of the past and the future, of knowing and ignorance, understanding and incomprehension, light and darkness. — Alexander Koch (Translation by Gerrit Jackson)

Register (FL//075)

Tobias Zielony
2 channel slide projection, Color, 15 B/W photographs, film box, film rolls
Various dimensions, 17'52"